Flying high with Chicago Air and Water Show

There is nothing like it from the skyline of Chicago. A Blue Angels squadron flying in formation at almost 700 miles per hour ( just below the legal FAA limitations) representing the best of the best that aerial flight has to offer. The 54th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show takes place this weekend on August 18th-19th along the city's lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the focal point from 10:00am - 3:00pm daily.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels have been flying and amazing audiences with their gravity defying presence since 1946. Lt. Dave Trickel is proud to be a pilot amongst this year's top Navy performers in the air. There are over 500,000 people within the Navy that the Blue Angels represent and this type of demonstration takes more than 100 people to showcase. Keep in mind, while flying almost breaking the sound barrier, these jets are within 18 inches of wing tips while in flight.

LT Reid, a female logistics specialist, says it's not easy being one of a few women in this group as women are held to the same standard as their male counterparts. Her biggest obstacle? Having to maintain the same standards for strength training.

Reid, a Jamaican native and US transplant to Waukegan many years ago, wanted to show people that even coming from nothing, there is a place to thrive in the United States. She enlisted in the Navy to inspire her younger sisters and many young girls across the country to be the best they can be, and to understand the privilege and responsibility to serve for the United States of America. She started with the Navy to help with the expense of a college degree; she stays with the Navy because she loves it.

Inspiration runs rampant with all the excitement that the Chicago Air and Water Show brings to the city. From the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights to the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, these planes and jets without doubt, provide exhilarating experiences from the beach to inside the cockpit of a T-39. I should know. I got to ride in tandem behind Pilot Steve Gustafson this morning.

Riding in a plane in tight quarters with tight wing assignments was a total rush. Upon the loop the loop and barrel rolls, I had no expectations of what was going to happen. Seeing the horizon curve overhead was stomach bouncing and jaw dropping. I screamed with excitement!

I will be on the shoreline this weekend and hope to see you as well. Not sure what my favorite part of the day will be after actually riding in the cockpit, but I can bet you will be astounded by the flight maneuvers and special guests that drop literally out of the air if you look upon the Chicago skyline this weekend.

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